During World War II, Lily Brett's parents Max and Rose survived six years in the Łódź ghettos in Poland, before being taken to Auschwitz concentration camp where they were eventually separated. It took them six months to find each other again after the war ended in 1945. Brett was born in a displaced persons' camp in Germany in 1946. She was aged two (1948) before her parents were able to leave Germany and emigrate to Melbourne, Australia.

 

Leaving You
 
It has taken me
a long time to know
that it was your war
not mine

that I wasn’t
in Auschwitz
myself

that I have never seen
the Lodz Ghetto

or Stuthof
or a cattle wagon
or a selection queue
I thought
I knew
Nazis

I thought
I had lived
with fear

with
ration cards
with work permits

I thought I knew
what bodies gnawed by rats
looked like

and how
the mattresses
smelt

and what
it felt like
to fill your lungs

with
smoke
from flesh

to
live
with death

I have had
trouble
Mother
leaving you.

Lily Brett